Here is our finished work, my animating work was on the open three scenes. The project will consist of this piece, as well as a corresponding series of posters and a printout of a gif and will be exhibited in the Cardiff School of Art and Design Atrium.
During the process of creating this work I have developed a huge respect for the animators art. It is immensely time consuming and frustrating. What we have created of the course of these past weeks is among the most basic of animations, yet I am very pleased with the result given our lack of experience.
Designing and general preparation for the animating was a pretty standard affair for us as we all understand the depth of knowledge of a subject one need before they stark work. That happens to be my favorite part, throwing around ideas and developing something from all the best bits, ideas bouncing around and being shaped by us as a group. Even a project as seemingly simplistic as this takes huge effort on all parts.
An example of the minute alternations we made even in our last few days of work, are Emily’s eyes as she cries in the second scene. It was suggested to me by a lecturer to have her eyes change as she cried, I made ‘U’ shaped eyes to appear downcast and upset. But through group discussion, we had three designs before we reached, what we felt, was the best style.
Given the time-frame we were working within (45-60 seconds) I am really happy with the variety within our film. Some groups chose to work from a single computer to insure the work would be absolutely uniform. I am glad we chose not to do this. We of course made a great effort to plan out every aspect of the work before we began, but by working separately and simply pooling our work and asking for feedback as we went, I feel we managed to make our piece more vibrant and interesting. Each one of us took some small liberty to change small details based on what we thought worked. I, for example, decided to add the tear rolling down Emily’s face in the moment and asked the group who basically said ‘ sure, see if it works’.
Working separately brought up challenges such as scale of Emily and surrounding objects. I feel the advantages outweighed even this though. Each of us are still only have a cursory understanding of Adobe After Effects, I feel like I could use it for years and still be discovering more about it. The result of this was that in each of our sections, we made different animating choices based on what we knew. We all had different ways of tackling problems. This variety only enriched the work in my opinion.
In honesty it wasn’t until we began including audio into the project that I saw it coming to life. The animation on its own was never going to be that impressive. But just small stuff like the clacking of the computer keyboard and the clicking of the mouse, gives a whole other dimension to it. These were easy to come by online, it just took an awful lot of scavenging to find free effects. I have listed a few of my favourite go-to sights on my last blog post.
Along with almost every other file we collectively amassed in the project. I decided we should upload everything to a memory stick of mine as backup and way of sharing large files. Many of our files, especially audio, would be necessary for each others portions of the project. This was another step we took to insure continuity and uniformity. I found a lot of the sound effects but they were going to be needed in all three parts of the video.
The music you hear throughout the video was a find of Callum’s, I wasn’t aware he’d added it until he played it back to me a couple of days before the exhibition. I was really happy with it. It’s light and melodic while fitting the very simplistic style of the animation and not being intrusive. It also contrasts well with the deep foreboding note as Emily falls in the fourth scene.
The final piece of the puzzle was the narration. I am not a narrator but for this project I was the unwilling voice over. We used a borrowed voice recorder from the Graphic Design office and me and Callum went off to find a quiet area in which to record. It was actually quite an educational crash course in acoustics. Everywhere was either too small and echoy or full of people.
The script was nonexistent. We just played the video, counted the length of each scene and then cut the sentence on the screen down until it could be said in the time allotted. I decided (I got to call the shots as the only one willing to use my voice) that simply reading what was on screen would be a bad idea. I personally hate adverts with text that is read out word for word by a narrator as if I am too stupid to read it myself. I understand, however, that some people cannot read whats on the screen for various reasons and in that case the text should be paraphrased. Which is exactly what I did in the end.
Summing it up
This was horrendously stressful and irritating brief and I hope to have a significant time out before being asked to do something similar again. However I understand the necessity of learning every skill related to Graphic Design. It was really fulfilling to see it all come together in the end and have our polished pieces to show off. It tested my ability to work in a group more than once but I am happy to have been through it. It must have really stuck with me because I have found myself wandering how I would change it if given the chance and several ideas have already been flying around my head.